Thursday, 30 April 2015

Splashes of colour from last Weekend

 Bugle was everywhere, brilliant to see so much of it.

 The Bluebells Woods were full of flowers.

Cowslips at Thurlbear Wood. Great place but sadly not a butterfly anywhere, it stayed cold and cloudy when we were there and of course when we crossed the bridge back into Wales the sun was out and also very warm, so who says it always rains in Wales.

Bog Bean

 Great show of Bog Bean at Tir Founder Fields last weekend .

Record Shots

 Hudsonian Godwit, second time lucky
 Mike's strangely marked Sandpiper at Upper Neuadd
 Tree Pipit
Tree Pipit

No Wood Warbler, but ...

On my way home from work, this afternoon, I stopped off at the Merthyr Tunnel (Cwmbach portal) on the slim chance that Wood Warbler might be in. Unsurprisingly, there were none there as it is towards the end of next week is when I would normally expect them.

I loitered around the tunnel approach cutting for a while and then spotted some bright golden yellow blobs in the little stream that runs alongside the old track. I hoped they might be Bog Beacon (Mitrula paludosa) and wasn't disappointed.

I have always thought that drain would be ideal for this species, but despite looking from time to time, I had never seen them there until now. There were around a hundred individual fruiting bodies emerging from the water, but they were difficult to photograph with my compact and I ended up on my hands and knees, leaning out over the water as far as I dared, with arm at full stretch and the camera's zoom on full telephoto, as I took the photos single handed.

I knew this species was only occasionally recorded and looking on the NBN gateway, I see there are no records at all for Glamorgan and the nearest for a woods, near Libanus. Martin and I have previously seen it in VC42, in a ditch alongside the Penderyn mineral line, but that record has never made its way onto any database. I'll have to check if it is still there and if so, get the record in for it.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Upper Neuadd

I might have had too much Vick Inhaler again but its got spots. Inner wall of almost empty reservoir this evening.

Rhaslas passage

A very brisky, but dry morning at Rhaslas; whimbrel[2], dunlin[9], ringed plover[8], common sandpiper[2] with schedule 1 breeding pair still on territory, how I'm not quite sure. Usual suspects including red kite and an unexpected Mr Hill shivering in the rushes. Called in at Llwyn-onn, with plenty of mud present at the north end, alas just the common sand[5]. Yesterday at Llangorse; singles of whimbrel and house martin and my first sand martin, hundreds of them, c550 low over the lake viewed from Llangasty at 18:00 ish.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

More photos from Somerset and the previous week

 Willow Warbler
 The flock which the Hudsonian Godwit should have been in.
 Terrible photo of the Green Winged Teal but at least it is the right way up.

A couple shots from our dip to somerset

This is the Meare Heath scrape where everybody was hoping that the Hudsonian Godwit would come back. Unfortunately no sign all day. Still a very good day out with lots of year ticks like Yellow Wagtail, Bittern, Hobby, Great White Egret also great to see a Green Winged Teal at Greylake. The Cetti Warbler is a bad shot but you can still see it's a bird and not a pile rocks like some other shot on this blog.

Nice to see Lapwing and Redshank at Greylake also this Mute Swan who's neck looks like a pipe cleaner

Found this flower at Thurlbere and thought Lords and Ladies but on second thoughts that it's not, so any ideas please, answers on a post card.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Rhaslas Great Crested Newts, what else has been missed.

Managed to get out by 13:00 hours today and was surprised to find any birds still present at Rhaslas; RP2, LP3 including 1pr on usual territory [please will all birders stay off the bank, we have been accused of causing so much disturbance last year that neither RP & LP bred - apparently a water extraction pump, staff and ancillary vehicles, 4 wheel drives conveying management to the adjacent land fill site, motor bikes or dog walkers do not disturb ground nesting birds but those armed with binoculars do, you've been warned]. Also present a single DN.
Llwyn-onn north end [mud]; CS3 still present together with a single DN also a passage LP was present on the 23rd.

Hot News; great crested newts have been found at Rhaslas during the last week or so. How careless to have missed this species during the ecological surveys. The alternative of course is that they have only just arrived as a result of the reptile fence alongside the Bogey Road being (a) not regularly maintained (b) recently removed under NRW directions [the fence being in situ since Ffos-y-fran opencast began].

Monday, 20 April 2015

Otter today on the Webs

I had to do my webs a day later this month and was rewarded with cracking views of this Otter today. I watched it for twenty minutes before it moved up river.

the bees knees

WeBS on Sunday morning was probably the quietest ever, with 2 Reed Warblers in the settling reed beds the highlight. A walk round CCF found 3 singing Tree Pipits, but no Redstarts, Pied Fly's or Wood Warbs, yet.
The lack of migrants extended to Craig Fargoed where the Whinchats are not yet back. A signing Redstart was a welcome addition to my year list, but neither owl species showed.

As is becoming regular at the moment a new mining bee was found - Ashy Mining Bee - a smart, black and white bee. White-tailed and Common Carder Bumblebees were also added to the years bee list.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Back to Normal

A few shots taken in the last week, before and after the excitement of the Great Spotted Cuckoo.
 Grey Wagtail
 Small Tortoiseshell

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Great Spotted Cuckoo

Just going to cook some food this evening when I had a phone call from Martin Bevan  who said guess what I just found at Cwm Cadlan. I suggested Dotterel as these have turned up in the previous few years there. He replied Great Spotted Cuckoo, there followed a few sentences with some expletives before he managed to convince me he was not joking. There was then a frantic few minutes as I got ready to go, phone the local lads where there were more naughty words uttered in disbelief and asked Rob to put the news out which he did.
The journey seemed a lot longer than normal but finally managed to get there where Tony Adams met me on the walk up to the ruin where Martin had last seen the bird. We managed to get on the bird just before we met Martin.
The three of us watched it for awhile only managing to get some record shots as it kept it's distant and the fading light did not help. We then managed to lose the bird which was unfortunate as Mike Hogan, Martin Bell and Geri Thomas were seen walking towards us. After a lot of searching the bird was finally relocated where we had some good scope views before it flew into a very thick bush and did not emerge again so presumably it was going to roost there.
Big congratulations to Martin for the find. Really glad one of the lads has had a bit of luck as they put a lot of time and effort into their local patches.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Starter for Tern

With a bit of a blow forecast for Saturday I decided to start early with a couple of hours sea watching from Tutt Head, Mumbles before wandering around Crymlyn Burrows, before coaching duties.

Tutt Head was quiet, with the only birds of note being two Red-throated Divers and two Common Terns. On to Crymlyn Burrows found some 150+ Sanderling, some moulting into breeding plumage, and 6 Ringed Plovers, but no other waders - not an Oyk nor a Curlew. The tern theme continued when 3 Arctic Terns flew in to rest on the beach, quickly followed by 11 Sandwich Terns. They didn't stay long however as the incoming tide and a couple of dogs soon flushed them.

O the insect side a colony of Colletes bees was found near the pump station. Given the timing these appear to be Spring Colletes Colletes cunicularis. I managed to photograph a couple of hoverflies Eupoedes luniger and Sphaerophoria scripta. There was plenty of Eristalis hoverflies, both tenax and pertinax, but no butterflies.

E. luniger
 S. scripta
C. cunicularis